Moving to Antwerp
Antwerp has more to offer than just beer and waffles, it is in fact the diamond capital of the world. On this page you will find everything you need to know about moving to Antwerp. Below is an overview of what will be discussed:
How much will your move to Antwerp cost?
Moving to Antwerp isn’t something that can be done overnight or that is free. There are factors that will affect your moving cost, such as distance, household size, additional services etc. Below is an estimate of the cost to move to Antwerp from popular UK cities. This cost will exclude taxes, customs fees & duties, insurance etc.
|City from/household size||1 bed||3 bed||5 bed|
|London||£800 – £1,200||£1,300 – £1,800||£2,100 – £2,900|
|Manchester||£1,100 – £1,600||£1,800 – £2,500||£2,900 – £4,000|
|Bristol||£1,000 – £1,400||£1,600 – £2,200||£2,500 – £3,500|
|Newcastle||£1,200 – £1,700||£1,900 – £2,700||£3,100 – £4,300|
|Edinburgh||£1,300 – £1,900||£2,200 – £3,000||£3,600 – £4,900|
|Leeds||£1,000 – £1,500||£1,700 – £2,400||£2,800 – £3,900|
What Antwerp has to offer
Do you love to shop? Well Antwerp has the biggest modern indoor shopping centre know as Grand Bazar. Antwerp isn’t just an ideal location for shopaholics but also food lovers and is home to popular traditional open markets. After you’ve settled in, you should get out and experience the range of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly markets selling everything from food and flowers to exotic birds and North African delicacies.
Antwerp offers a wide variety of cultural highlights, the Vlaamse Opera House and the Bourla Theater are both hubs of performing arts in the city. If architecture is more your preference then Antwerp’s edifices range from Gothic to postmodern, making the city a treat for architecture lovers.
Yes you read it right, diamonds! Antwerp is actually the diamond capital of the world, around 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and half the world’s cut diamonds are traded in Antwerp.
Tips for your move to Antwerp
Electronic identity card
Luckily being a member of the European Union means that moving to Antwerp doesn’t require a visa, however if you’re wanting to extend your stay to longer than 3 months you must apply for an electronic identity card.
When moving to Antwerp you will probably be wanting to set up a bank account to avoid transferal and currency exchange charges. The main and popular banks include:
If you are wanting to transfer money abroad before setting up a bank account in Antwerp then read our other page on the best ways to transfer money abroad. This can save you some money and time.
The food brands will be slightly different to what you are used to in comparison to the UK, but you will soon get used to them and learn to love them. Markets are popular in Antwerp and you can find fresh fruit, vegetables and meat at various nearby markets. But if you’re wanting more of a typical store there are many to be offered. The main supermarkets include:
Is living in Antwerp expensive?
In general living in Antwerp will be cheaper in comparison to UK prices. The main difference is in fact the grocery prices which are around 13% higher in comparison to the UK. Below is an overview of the comparison of prices between Antwerp and London:
|London prices||Antwerp prices|
But don’t let the steeper grocery prices put you off, most other aspects of life in Antwerp is a lot more affordable than our beloved capital. Although renting can be a stressful process to accomplish in Antwerp it is definitely worth the hassle. Rent prices are on average 65% lower in Antwerp in comparison to London.
To learn or not to learn the language?
Belgium is strange in the fact that the whole country doesn’t just speak one language. It is split into the North vs the South. The northern half is home to the Dutch-speaking Flemings, whereas the southern half is mostly home to the French-speaking Walloons. As the northern region’s largest city, the official language in Antwerp is Dutch, but most residents are bilingual and many will speak at least some English.
Although you can get through day to day activities easily without knowing the language, it is important for the social side of things to learn the basics. Although many are bilingual, English won’t be practised daily unless necessary.
There are many expat groups which makes finding friends when moving to Antwerp a lot easier; however it just means you’re not integrating with the locals and learning interesting features such as their cultural habits.
What housing area will suit you best?
City centre – luxury and delight
The centre, similarly to most cities, is the most expensive area in Antwerp. The houses also meet the high prices standards. Wealthy professionals will usually live in the centre and living in the centre has major advantages: it has excellent public transportation links in all directions and the benefit of being within walking distance of all the major attractions of the city.
Plenty is also found here from luxury hotels, the ever-busy bars, clubs,cafés, designer boutiques and international cuisines as well as much more.
This area is the redeveloped museum district, which has become favoured among those happy to live in close proximity to pubs, clubs, and galleries. Also is close enough to the centre to gain advantages of that true inner city living.
Usually popular amongst younger expats, the fashion district, is where those inclined to an urban lifestyle can find affordable apartments.
Family friendly choices
The suburbs of Antwerp are perfect for families. Borgerhout, Deurne, Berchem, Wilrijk, and Maerksem are the main suburban areas that surround the outskirts of the city. The public transport in these areas are also excellent which means a car is not necessary.
To get a feel for these areas it is advised to simply visit them, all have their own unique features and advantages.
When is house hunting season?
Apartment hunting in Antwerp shouldn’t be taken lightly, some people refer to it more as ‘house sniping’. Finding an apartment requires you to stalk the housing websites, Expat Facebook groups, and the newspaper ads and once you see one that seems suitable you have to act fast
It is important to be careful and visit properties before agreeing to any contracts, pictures can often be deceiving. What seems to be a spacious room will often be crafty photography skills.
Landlords and housing agencies will also not give you time to think about signing for a house, the huge demand for housing means they don’t need to wait. Desperation can make people make rash and vast decisions, so if you don’t think the apartments right for you then wait. Better to keep searching then live in house you don’t want.
As previously mentioned housing websites are a common way to search for apartments. Popular ones include:
- Century 21 (all types of real estate)
- Glo-Con (all types of real estate)
- Apartments Antwerp (furnished apartments for short/long-term lease)
- Erasmusu (student rooms and apartments)
Request free removal quotes
Thinking about moving to Antwerp? Fill out our free removal quote form to receive up to 5 quotes on your move to Antwerp. This will only take a few minutes and you can save up to 40% on your move. We work with companies that specialise in removals to Antwerp to make your move as carefree as possible.